IRAS to reward whistleblowers on '99-to-1' loophole to evade ABSD
IRAS said that there will be a cap of S$100,000 in each case.
SINGAPORE – The Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) said that it will offer a reward of up to S$100,000 to whistleblowers who report property buyers who use the "99-to-1", or similar methods, to evade or reduce additional buyer's stamp duty (ABSD) on their purchase.
In its reply to queries from Singapore's The Straits Times, the IRAS said that an amount equalling 15 per cent of the tax recovered for each case will be given to informants if information provided lead to the recovery of taxes. There will be a cap of S$100,000 in each case.
In Parliament on 21 April, Senior Minister of State for Finance Chee Hong Tat noted in a reply to questions from Members of Parliament that some 0.5 per cent of private residential properties transacted from 2018 to 2021 involved "99-to-1" purchase arrangements or similar methods.
The "99-to-1" purchase arrangement is where property owners sold a small partial interest – one per cent – in the property to another buyer – usually a relative – within a short period of time. The loophole enables those who already own property to avoid paying ABSD, or pay a reduced amount, while still becoming the additional property's co-owner. In this way, they can also be a co-applicant for a loan to finance the purchase.
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The ABSD was introduced by the government in 2011 to manage demand for property. From Thursday (27 April), Singaporeans must pay 20% in ABSD when purchasing a second property, and 30% on third and subsequent purchases. Those figures are higher for permanent residents (35%) and foreigners (60%).
IRAS said on its website that when reporting suspected tax evasion, "your identity and all information or documents provided by you will be kept confidential". "You may also choose to remain anonymous."
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